Health Care Service Appreciated Amidst Dengue Outbreak

AKP Phnom Penh, July 16, 2019 —

New comers are brought to the last available space of the National Pediatric Hospital’s inpatient section – the third floor of a new and tallest building there, labeled Pediatric Medical Centre, somewhat already crowded.

All types of rooms are full, yet there remain some empty areas twelve steps away from the elevator along very clean walking hall narrowed down from 3.5 to one metre width by convertible beds and mattress at both sides, where naked children from as young as seven months to sixteen years old lying close the fluid stand with drip line connecting to the blood vessel in either of their hands.

Parents, guardians and relatives of newly arriving kids tested with positive dengue fever look energetic yet stressed and worried, while those who have been there for few days already are relaxed and optimistic though tired of less sleep for nights at capital’s government-run hospital located along the Russian Federation Boulevard in Khan Toul Kork.

While others have only their child infected by dengue sleeping at the hospital, Mr. Eung Phal and his wife are bringing along all the three daughters – the oldest of 12 years old has the disease.

“My daughter’s temperature was 38 and sometimes 40 degrees [Celsius]. I brought her to the health clinic in Veal Renh. Then, red spots appeared on her body. The doctor said, to be safe I should bring her to the hospital in Phnom Penh,” says Mr. Phal – chief of Police Office at Veal Renh of Preah Sihanouk province.

It was already 9 in the evening, but Mr. Phal and his wife had no time to waste if they do not want to lose his daughter. He packed and drove the whole family along 183 kilometre road and arrived the National Pediatric Hospital at about 2 o’clock, the next day.

“I headed to this hospital because it is famous and recommended. Last year, my niece was in a very serious condition of dengue. It was said, her brood was freezing. All her parents cried without any hope at all. But, she was rescued here,” he continues.

It is the fifth night of Mr. Phal’s sick daughter and the family at the hospital, and one mattress and one convertible bed in front of the laboratory department can appreciably accommodate the five.

He adds with appreciation that, “I understand that there are too many patients that no proper room left. I see that the medical staffs and doctors are trying their best to treat my girl.”

Ms. Kim Pheakdey has been a medical staff at the National Pediatric Hospital for over 27 years. She is not authorised to share the hospital’s figures, however, she tells that just that Friday alone, the hospital received so many cases of dengue fever.

“No place is perfect. Parents are stressful and concerned when bringing their sick children here. We staff here are working very hard to handle the referred cases. I confess that sometimes we are tired and not happy, especially when there are too many patients. But we try to control our tempter as much as we can,” said Ms. Pheakdey of her work.

When he brought his two-year-old boy to the hospital in February, Mr. Tith Virintra could have access to VIP air-coned room with all necessary access.

Although coming here again to see his niece in crowded environment, Mr. Tith Virintra, a staff at the Council of Ministers, takes it positively that: “Actually, I suggested my elder brother to bring his daughter here because I really like the service at the hospital.

“I am not disappointed although there is no proper room for patient left. The first comers can have better rooms, and the last comers should accept the reality at the hospital. As long as the doctors pay good attention to our child, it is fair enough.”

On a mattress adjacent to the blood test corner, 72-year-old grandma, Ms. Khem Chin, is playing with her seven-month-old granddaughter who is laughing even though her left hand remains connected with the fluid running down slowly drop by drop into the drip line.

Ms. Chin’s daughter and her husband are working at garment factory in the suburb of Phnom Penh, leaving their newborn with the grandma in Pursat province.

“My granddaughter’s temperature got very high. I was worried. I decided to come to the hospital in Phnom Penh because the service is better. I don’t want my daughter to blame me if something bad happened to her only child. My granddaughter is getting better, and I am so happy to see many medical staff here coming to check her regularly.”

Ministry of Health has so far issued series of notifications on dengue fever outbreak along with prevention measures for the public and instructions to health clinics and hospital in the Kingdom.

The latest update indicates that for the first six months of 2019, there were 13,843 recorded cases of dengue fever which is higher than the figure during the same period last year by five folds, and 24 people died of the disease.

There were 24,684 cases of dengue fever with 23 deaths in 2018, and 6,372 cases with three deaths in 2017, and most cases happened in Phnom Penh capital and the provinces of Kampong Chhnang, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Kratie, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchey.

As a medical staff, Ms. Kim Pheakdey observes improvement both on the side of patients and hospital and is optimistic of the future health service in Cambodia.

“Our people now have better awareness on dengue fever. I am very happy. Many of them also understand the difficulty of our hospital especially during the outbreak like this. They listen and respect what we tell them. This is important. I am very hopeful that our health service will continue to be better from time to time,” says Ms. Pheakdey.

Sunday is the seventh day for Ms. Khem Chin’s granddaughter tested with positive dengue fever, and she just learned from the doctor that her little girl will be discharged by this noon – a delight to everyone in the family.

For the teenage daughter of Mr. Eung Phal, she will have to spend another night at the hospital to make sure her disease is completely gone before being sent home.

Before then, all of them are now enjoying the nutritious meal of several kinds distributed to hospitalised kids free of charge.

Cambodia is not the only ASEAN country suffering the outbreak of dengue fever. According to July 16 update from the Philippines Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system, there were 106,630 dengue cases reported from January 1 to June 29 – including 456 deaths. The current dengue incidence in the country is 85 percent higher than in 2018.

By Mc Soleil